The first time I saw her, she bit me and then ran away. I knew it was love at first sight. From 11-20, she was my constant companion. When I was into Harriet the Spy, she joined me (against her will) in a book bag to spy on my family and neighbors. I thought she was a living doll, my toy. I dressed her up in doll clothes and made up little scenes for her to participate in, like tea service. She wasn't thrilled, but after much hissing and struggling, she gave up and let me pose her this way and that.
As I grew up, she and I read books together and learned Biology. We took walks around the neighborhood and climbed trees. I told her about boys I liked and about mean girls.
I grew more, still, and she accompanied me around the neighborhood when I snuck out to visit friends in the night and to smoke cigarettes (I thought I was so cool). I cried to her through teenage angst and many boyfriends. She was always there to listen and comfort.
When I went off to college, I couldn't take her and while I never forgot, I moved on. I got new kitties and I made new confidants. I visited from time to time, but it was never the same.
I've always loved her and she's always loved me. I'll miss her so much. She's such a tough and special little soul.
Rest in peace Miss Slaightybelle.